The Chicago Cubs, who open the 2017 season in just six days, haven’t officially announced their latest round of roster cuts, but Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has some details:
- John Andreoli, OF
- Eddie Butler, RHP
- Taylor Davis, C
- Ian Happ, 2B/OF
- Rob Zastryzny, LHP
For obvious reasons, Happ’s cut stands out above the rest.
Happ, who will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, was hitting .417 with a 1.285 OPS, while leading the team with 20 hits, 17 RBI, and five home runs (tied with Addison Russell). Happ wasn’t going to make the team out of spring training, because he is immediately blocked at several positions, but he made it clear with his play that he is in line to be the next Cubs prospect knocking at the big league door.
GM Jed Hoyer seemed pleased with what he saw with Happ this spring, as well:
#Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on Ian Happ: “Offensively, what was there not to like? I feel like he hit the ball hard every at-bat for six weeks."
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) March 27, 2017
Andreoli starred in a different way this spring, hitting .350 with three home runs for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He also made highlights with this putout (at first base!) from right field in Las Vegas.
Eddie Butler will join Happ as someone on the verge of being a big league contributor. One of the newest arms on the roster, Butler tossed 14.2 innings (third most among Cubs pitchers this spring), posted a 0.95 WHIP, struck out seven, walked three, and coaxed a 2-to-1 ground-out to fly-out ratio. You can watch one of his most recent outings in which he mowed down the Dodgers right here.
Butler and Zastryzny looks to have a leg up on the race to be the first arm up if and when needed, while Davis joins the mix of minor league catchers.
After today’s cuts, there are 31 players left in big league camp.